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RE: [TowerTalk] Actual LP Performance vs Tribanders

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Subject: RE: [TowerTalk] Actual LP Performance vs Tribanders
From: Jim Lux <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 13:43:39 -0700
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At 04:15 PM 6/28/2004 -0400, Dave Bernstein wrote:
A model helicopter with a GPS receiver, a UHF link for the NMEA data,
and software for navigation and position/signal-strength recording --
what a cool idea! Are there off-the-shelf model helicopter controllers
with RS-232 or USB interfaces?


Dave, AA6YQ

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Michael Tope
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 15:43
To: Larry Phipps;; Jim Lux
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Actual LP Performance vs Tribanders

One of my colleagues at work fly's model Helicopters. Seems like a model helicopter with a small beacon transmitter might be the way to make a poor man's HF antenna range. Alternatively, a tethered helium balloon with a small beacon might be another way to build a cheap HF antenna range.

Mike, W4EF........................

I've been looking into this very approach, except using a powered paraglider model: much, much easier to fly than a helicopter, and a lot less metal, and mechanically much simpler. The idea is to fly a GPS, a PCR1000, and a small computer. You also need three short antennas and a switch (GaAs MMIC will work just fine, it's low power), because you don't know the orientation of the antenna.

I have a 1/3 scale paraglider with a modified weedwhacker motor that can carry 5-6 pounds of payload. The only real problem with the PPG is that it's not all that fast (about 11 mi/hr) (which is good for making the measurements, but a real pain if there's any wind).

Essentially a poor man's RELEDOP (google for it).

I looked into the whole autopilot thing and it's really, really expensive (read several kilobucks) for anything that would work in this sort of application (that is, suitably automated). You're really better off hand flying the thing with some telemetry coming back to help you drive it around.

If you teamed up with someone with a helicopter who's good at flying it, then maybe all you'd need is a little instrument package that they could carry. I was looking for something I could fly myself and I am a terrible R/C helicopter pilot. Blimps are another possibility.

The robotics group at W4EFs work (mine too) have fairly fancy automonous helicopters that could easily run a pattern, and their payload is PC/104 based and integrating a beacon or a small radio wouldn't be all that tough. Hmm, maybe we should propose it as a use for their devices.


See: for "Self Supporting Towers", "Wireless Weather Stations", and lot's more. Call Toll Free, 1-800-333-9041 with any questions and ask for Sherman, W2FLA.

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